NEW ORLEANS — The city of New Orleans is facing a lawsuit after it allegedly demolished a house it sold at a public auction without
notifying the new owner.
David Garrett, who purchased the house in October 2015 for $7,010,
the suit in federal court requesting unspecified damages.
and his wife, Lourdes T. Archbold-Garrett, have been investing in the
city of New Orleans for several years by purchasing houses and other
properties that are listed as “blighted.” The couple renovates
the structures. That’s exactly what they were
planning to do with a townhouse on the Interstate 10 service road
that they purchased in October 2015.
“I purchased that property
from the city of New Orleans, and three months later they tore it down, Garrett told the Louisiana
According to Garrett, the city failed to clear all of the previous
liens when it sold the property.
“Civicsource.com is the
website where they auction off all the properties that have not paid
taxes in several years; anyone can buy them. It’s open to the
public,” he said. “One of the stipulations that they give us as
buyers is that all liens would be released.”
Garrett got a call
from his Realtor about notices at the property concerning its
demolition and called the city in mid-December 2015. At that time, he
said he was told that the city had straightened out the problem and that he
had nothing to worry about. In fact, the city sent a letter dated
Jan. 25, 2016, notarized and signed by the city attorney attesting to
the fact that all the liens had been cleared for the property. That
letter did little to stop the demolition of the property two days
later on Jan. 27.
“When I purchased it, (the liens) all should
have been cleared, but the right hand doesn’t know what the left
hand is doing, so the left hand went ahead and demolished it anyway,”
Adding insult to injury, the city sent Garrett a bill of $11,170 for the demolition.
The lawsuit that Garrett filed in federal court on
Oct. 26 asks for unspecified damages. That doesn’t mean that
Garrett expects to see a payment from New Orleans.
“The city of New Orleans notoriously doesn’t pay their bills,
so even if I win, I’m not going to get paid,” he said.
said he and his wife are continuing to invest in the city where they plan to retire. They will continue to buy rental properties and
make improvements. They won’t, however, be purchasing any more
severely dilapidated homes.
“I’m just not going to buy
anymore blighted properties; that’s all,” he said.
In the past, he has purchased and renovated properties in Gert
Town, and Hollygrove.
“One I’m doing right now, by the end of the month, I
will have put $124,000 in renovations into it," he said, talking about a house on
South Robertson Street in Central City.